Some other posts… July 9, 2012Posted by Oli in Breaking Bad, Creativity, Dubai, Human Geography, MediaCityUK, TV Review.
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This is a rather self-serving post (so apologies in advance), with a few links to other pieces of work in other more enlightened parts of the internet. I have been concentrating recently on my research into so-called media cities, and how they help, or indeed hinder in the formulation of the illusive ’creative buzz’ that is so sought after by urban planners. Urban creativity, as we all know though, extends beyond these places into marginalised, subversive, subcultural and informal places, and the ‘creative city’ policy drives around the world need to recognise this – something which I hope, comes out through these articles. Enjoy. (more…)
Dubai – A City with Organs June 3, 2012Posted by Oli in Dubai, Human Geography, Urban Geography.
Deleuze and Guattari (1987) claimed the city is the striated space par excellence. We are all aware of how urban topographies restrict and contract smooth movement and the chance to drift, and how they direct and enact a routine, a habit, a certain soporificity. The striation is well-entrenched, the city beats with life, and we often hear the city equated to the body. “The heart of the city”, “the veins and arteries of the city” – an apt metaphor for the daily rhythms of urbanity. However, cities negate such a functional and arcane definition. The body works well (most of the time); its systems are efficient, its development is planned, its functioning is central. Cities are none of these things. There exist mutliplicitous powers, confusions, desires, flows, reappropriations, smooth spaces, that lie with striation, as the Lion lies with the Lamb. This mixes, congeals, diffuses and deliquesces people, places and powers into a city without organs, a city with no commensurable life other than that of it’s own.
Creative Failure – cr8net 2012 April 26, 2012Posted by Oli in Creative Industries, Creativity, Culture, DCMS, Innovation.
Tags: Creative Industries
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Failure is a dirty word. Business leaders won’t stand for it, politicians try to hide it and generally, it’s seen as something to avoid. But it seems, given the talks and discussions today at #cr8net hosted by CIDA, it is essential for creativity. The stories of how creativity has escaped the shackles of prescribed education via playful experimentation with software, and how networking with everyone who will throw a business card at you is critical to success, they sum up the rhetoric of the creative industries for the last 15 years or so. But is failure such a critical part of what constitutes creativity? Does allowing for experiments to fail really aid creative businesses? Or is it more the will to take a creative idea and putting it into practice in a meaningful way?
Infiltrating the Shard – a philosophical reaction April 9, 2012Posted by Oli in Badiou, Films, Poststructuralism, Urban Geography.
Tags: the event, the Shard
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There’s been somewhat of a feeding frenzy in the media today regarding the infiltration of the Shard by Bradley Garrett and others. Bradley posted the images of his climb to the top of Europe’s new tallest building on his blog and soon after, the media caught wind of them and used them to fill out their bilious pages with striking images that no photographer working for any paper would be able to achieve ever. The media coverage of this event has been, for me, unsurprising given the enormity of what Bradley’s actions do to the collective psyche of the public writ large. Whatever people feel about his actions (I happen to think they should be highly commended and applauded), the infiltration of the Shard is a philosophical Event par excellence. Let me explain why (warning – philosophical ramblings ahead). (more…)
Motorways as Lefebvrian Urbanisation March 14, 2012Posted by Oli in Human Geography, Motorways, Urban Geography.
Tags: Cities, Motorways
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Those of you in the know will perhaps shudder at the amount of time I spend hurtling up and down various stretches of England’s motorway network (all within the speed limit of course and always keeping left unless overtaking). The banality of the endless asphalt whizzing by with only 5live to keep me company (any other station requires constant retuning) can, at times, be infuriating when all you see is a line of sleek black snaking into the horizon punctured by red brake lights; but also simultaneously some of the most explicitly urban encounters one can ever achieve. (more…)
Life in Pruitt-Igoe January 16, 2012Posted by Oli in Films, Human Geography, Poststructuralism, Pruitt-Igoe.
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16th of March, 1972 at 3.00pm precisely. That is when Charles Jencks proclaimed ‘the death of modenism’, as the Pruitt-Igoe housing estate in St. Louis was razed to the ground. Many commentators of architecture and city living in general claimed it was the representative ‘end’ of the Cities of the Future which were based on the Le Courbusierian ‘Machines for Living’ – the modernist utopian dream lay in ruins on the Missourian soil. It was with its iconic (dis)appearance is the beautifully esoteric film Koyaanisqatsi (1982), that the Pruitt-Igoe complex symbolised more than simply a disastrous 1950s housing policy, but a retraction of an entire philosophy for life. The Sassurian structuralist mode of thought that had influenced the modernist agenda of architecture and urban planning had given way to the heterogeneity of urban life, the ebb and flow of a Lefebvrian rhythm which was essentially un-containable by these ‘streets in the sky’. Pruitt-Igoe as the symbol of the beginning of ‘post-modernism’ is now well versed, and is part of cultural geography modules up and down the land (including, I hasten to add, my own). (more…)
My networking is not working! January 13, 2012Posted by Oli in Actor-Network Theory, Networks, Projects.
Tags: networking, Networks
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Just a quick post to let you know that my latest paper has been published in Economic Geography (abstract is below). It is a conceptual paper on the merits of latency and dysfunction in the networking paradigm within economic geography literature, and perhaps the wider social sciences as a whole. It stems from my work on cities, freelancers and the creative industries which, as most people who have any knowledge on that field at all will know, are heavily reliant of social networks, project-networks and general collaborative action. It is a real ‘flag-in-the-sand’ piece by my co-authors (Tim Vorley and Richard Courtney) and I and we hope that it will help to shape the argument regarding networks and how network practice shapes economic and geographical behaviour. The initial conception of the paper was born over one too many glasses of red wine at Churchill College one evening in 2007, so it’s taken a long time, but we feel it was worth it given the (hopeful) impact it will have in human geographical literature. If you can’t access the full pdf but would like a copy, please feel free to email, tweet or poke me and I’ll get one over to you.
Networks have become a major analytical concept in economic geography and have served to extend both empirical and theoretical research agendas. However, much of the literature on networks is characterized as associative, considering them only as cumulative constructs through the constant enrollment of additional actors. Through the lens of social capital and a discussion of the limitations of the networking paradigm in economic geography, this article aims to move beyond this associative nature and introduce variance in network practices in the form of nonworking and not working. By presenting a hypothetical example of a project-based network, we introduce the concepts of nonworking and not working as latency and disassociation as dimensions of network practices. In doing so, we present a more nuanced approach to the networking paradigm in relational economic geography, one that moves beyond a purely associative understanding to incorporate nonworking and not working.
Full pdf link is here for those with the right log-in credentials…
CFP: Spatialities of Digital and Creative Work, RGS-IBG 2012 December 13, 2011Posted by Oli in Creative Industries, Freelancers, Human Geography.
Tags: Call for papers, RGS-IBG 2012
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Call for papers: RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2012
2-5th July, University of Edinburgh
Rachel Granger, Coventry University, UK
Oli Mould, University of Salford, UK
SPATIALITIES OF DIGITAL AND CREATIVE WORK
While research on the growing and highly influential digital and creative industries has been well-represented in recent years, this session signifies a departure from mainstream research on digital and creative industries towards more exploratory research of the social spaces in and through which, digital and creative work is occupied and shaped. As such it welcomes contributions in the form of case studies, new empirical methods, and conceptual pieces relating to networks, social spaces, urban subcultures, working practices, and even ‘underground’ spaces (Cohendet et al., 2011) relating to this group of workers – as a way of broadening our understanding about how these new economic activities operate in practice.
We particularly welcome pieces about:
- The working practices of digital and creative workers – such as portfolio working, freelance operations
- New working practices of professionals afforded by digital mediums – such as location independent working, and co-working
- Unveiling subcultures and underground geographies of creative and digital workers, which are substantially different to other areas of economic activity
- New and imaginative methods for capturing and examining creative and digital work
The broader context for the session relates to our understanding of this broad and emergent area of the economy, which continues to be dominated by traditional research methods, especially those relating to ‘sectors’, ‘occupations’, ‘places’ and ‘spaces’. Yet, there is compelling evidence that this group of activities are shaped, organized and can be better understood, through more imaginative spatial constructs. These workers, more than others, appear to be at the vanguard of a changing economy and society – with new working methods and practices – representing a break with the past, which calls for more nuanced research approaches.
The conveners welcome abstracts of approximately 250 words, which along with paper titles and full contact details should be emailed by Monday 23rd January 2012 to: Rachel (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Oli (email@example.com)
Cities and the Creative Industries – a quick rant… November 29, 2011Posted by Oli in Creative Industries, MediaCityUK, Urban Geography.
Tags: MediaCityUK, Stoke's Croft
Having secured some funding to study MediaCityUK in-depth, it is a great opportunity to grapple with that old problem of the ‘spaces’ of creative industries. I have always tried to write/research/teach around the intersection of urban geographies and the creative industries, yet it seems that despite much academic literature to the contrary, there remains in the ‘real world’ (for want of a more academically-friendly term) a distinct disconnect between the importance of place (and getting that place right) and creative industry development.
City-Regions of regions of cities? October 26, 2011Posted by Oli in Urban diversity, Urban Geography.
Tags: city regions, Salford
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On one of my daily walks across the campus of the University of Salford, I came across something that really encapsulated some of the current thinking of the local area. It was a piece of cardboard, maybe 5 inches by 15, wedged in the grills of the heras fencing that surrounded the Maxwell Hall development. On this cardboard someone had scrawled “Manchester ≠ Salford”. I really wish I had taken a photo, as the following day it had gone. To put this into context as to why it was there, the front of Maxwell Hall faces A6 (Chapel Street), and on the front of the building is the huge University of Salford logo – the green circle with the lion (nicknamed the Peugeot Lion for obvious reasons). The building is now under wraps, presumably to unveil the University’s new logo, which reads, “the University of Salford, Manchester“. The merits of the new brand are not up for debate here, but what it plays into I think is more important – in that is a prime example of the sprawling ‘city-region’. (more…)